TV on DVD 05/11/09 – The Complete Daria, the End of the Bar and Thirtysomething’s Third

Raising the Bar

Daria: The Complete Animated Series (Paramount) – Though she began life as a foil for Beavis and Butthead, Daria Morgendorffer soon spun-off into her own animated MTV series and staked out her own unique identity. Unlike the giggling morons that became short-lived pop culture icons, Daria is a smart and sardonic girl whose dry wit comes out in a running commentary on the stifling conformity of her culture. Think of her as a teenage Janeane Garofalo stuck in a Twilight Zone of vapid, stupid high school students, where her deadpan sarcasm falls on deaf ears, except for Jane, her bohemian best friend and partner in sarcasm. While it never reached the popularity of Beavis and Butthead, it’s a smarter, sharper show, an actual satire of high school culture with characters who actually evolve, even the disaffected Daria, who seriously damages her friendship with Jane when she “steals” Jane’s boyfriend. The strains of betrayal and broken trust can be felt long after they have supposedly put it behind them.

Daria: the Morgendorffer clan plus Jane

The series debuts on DVD in revised form. As the show’s creator Glenn Eichler confesses up front, most of the original music was replaced due to licensing costs (which is what kept it off DVD for so long). Fan may balk, but it’s the trade-off to that finally makes it available: all five seasons of the show. The 8 discs, collected in a double-wide case with hinged trays, include all 65 original episodes plus the two made-for-TV Daria movies: Is it Fall Yet? (2000), which finds them flailing through summer vacation, and Is It College Yet? (2002), which finally brought Daria and friends to graduation. Also features the pilot “Sealed With a Kick,” Daria Day intros, Top Ten Video Countdown hosted by Daria and Jane and cast and crew interview among the supplements.

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